"Music is a universal language" - yeah, universally divisive! I thought of this yesterday at a funeral of an old friend. I have a pretty broad taste in music (Bare Naked Ladies, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Weezer, Dave Matthews, Maroon 5, Yanni, Alicia Keys, Beatles, Harry Connick, JR, Barry Manilow, Mannheim Steamroller, Pink Floyd, The Statler Brothers - need I go on to prove the diversity of my play list?) but this guy liked Scottish Bagpipes. I see it in “church” music. Wanta start a fight in an adult class at church? Talk about “old” songs verses “new” songs. For me I LOVE both older and newer songs. I love the deep and majestic hymns and those critically called “7/11 songs”. I absolutely love to sing with others. I have virtually no singing voice. Dad and mom both did and my sons both do - but like "the skinny gene" (not to be confused with skinny jeans) it skipped a generation. Still, that doesn't keep me from drinking in and being often moved to tears when we sing together! Few things move my heart like singing praises to God with His Family. That's one of the things I love most about Spring Meadows - when I'm away I seldom enjoy the singing like I do here! Sorry, to those places I visit, it's just special singing with these people.
From “Great is Thy Faithfulness” to “Great is Our God” - I just love to sing. But I don’t like them all. I was talking to our song leader the other day about some of my “least favorites” and it will shock some of you to know. I don’t like “I’ll Fly Away”, “Get Right Church”, and “An Empty Mansion” - all for different reason.
But my all time least favorite song is “Follow Me.” Stay with me. The second stanza begins:"’I work so hard for Jesus’ I often boast and say, ‘I've sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I'm worth a lot to thee...’" Maybe the writer was writing tongue in cheek but I get a little queazy even singing it. Like any of us could have had fame and fortune if we’d just decided not to follow Christ. There weren’t any paparazzi lined outside my door just waiting for my decision. “Oh, he’s decided to follow Jesus. We’ll leave Jenkins along then...” Or that Ed McMahon was outside with my fortune should I not have followed Christ.
But (and, yes, I know you are not supposed to start a paragraph with “But” and I did it two times straight. But I’m not sure how else to begin these two paragraphs) one of my all time favorite songs is “Follow Me.” The third stanza goes through my mind almost every time I get on the road or a plane to go speak somewhere: “Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
'Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay, ‘No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die...’” It struck me hard on a trip to Nigeria a few years ago to an area where some American missionaries had recently been shot at.
What’s the point? Most any song, understood correctly can have power and impact. And the songs really shouldn’t be about our personal like and dislikes but about praising God (Psalm 69:30) and encouraging each other (Colossians 3:16). And while I may not personally like a particular song, if it fits these two bills, then I should sing on. For those around me may need it. And, hey, they may not like the songs that I like. If we “boycott” others favorites, they might ours too :). And the strength of our singing in church is that we raise our voices together, some strong, some weak, some on key, some off - all joined in praise to the One we adore! That is beautiful to God and to those who love Him.